The Cholesterol Numbers Doctors Should Be Measuring
Many doctors, including cardiologists, look at all the wrong numbers when it comes to cholesterol. If your cholesterol is over 220 mg/dl they get worried—if it’s over 300 mg/dl they panic. Then, they put you on statin drugs to bring down the “bad” LDL cholesterol and to help raise the “good” HDL cholesterol.
- Not all HDL cholesterol is “good.” There are two subtypes of HDL cholesterol. HDL-2 is large, buoyant, and helps to protect against heart disease. Meanwhile, HDL-3 particles are small, dense and not as protective as HDL-2. You want more HDL-2 particles than HDL-3.
- Not all LDL cholesterol is “bad.” As with HDL cholesterol, there are several subtypes of LDL cholesterol. You can have high LDL cholesterol, but if it’s mostly LDL-A which is a buoyant, fluffy molecule it’s absolutely harmless unless it’s oxidized. On the other hand, if much or your cholesterol is LDL-B, that’s cause for concern. That’s because LDL-B is small and dense and can contribute to hardening of the arteries.
- It’s also critical to know another number which most cholesterol tests don’t measure—Lp(a). This is a small, dense and highly inflammatory type of cholesterol that can damage blood vessels. It can also make your blood “sticky” and cause a buildup of arterial plaque.
- If your HDL and/or LDL subtypes need improvement, I recommend a combination of the PAM diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise.
- If your Lp(a) is high my top recommendation to neutralize it is by taking 1-3 g of niacin daily. I also recommend fish or squid oil (1 or 2 g daily) and either one of two natural clot-busting enzyme supplements, nattokinase (50 mg twice a day) or lumbrokinase, also known as Boluoke (200 mg one to two times daily).
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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